CHAMPCAR/CART: Papis to start second half run at Toronto

HILLIARD, OH . . . The 2000 FedEx Championship Series has not played itself out as Max Papis thought it would in late March. After Papis posted his first CART victory at Grand Prix of Miami to open the 2000 season the personable Italian had...

HILLIARD, OH . . . The 2000 FedEx Championship Series has not played itself out as Max Papis thought it would in late March. After Papis posted his first CART victory at Grand Prix of Miami to open the 2000 season the personable Italian had posted nine top-five results in the last 12 CART events. The bulk of that streak was posted over the second half of the 1999 season pushing Papis to fifth in the championship point standings and earning him a berth on the inaugural CART All-Star team. Since that winning moment, Papis and the Miller Lite team have fought adversity with five DNF's in the last eight races. For Papis a driver who prided himself on his consistency last year the DNF's have been a source of frustration. Even with the recent difficulties Papis sees an upside to the season. "We have been unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on several occasions this year," said Papis. "Last year it seemed we always just missed the mishap on the track where this year we find ourselves in the middle of them. Just when we have taken a step forward like Detroit (2nd place), we have been beset by another setback (DNF's at Portland & Cleveland). The great thing about the Miller Lite team is that even though we have had our difficulties the crew is upbeat and we are doing the little things that we need to do to be successful. If we can get a run of good luck we can be a contender over the second half. We were able to put together a strong second half last season and I feel we can do that again in 2000." When comparing this season to last, Papis is actually ahead of his 1999 points pace 47-41 and has posted a pair of podium appearances (Miami and Detroit). The key for Papis has been getting to the end of races in 2000. Papis is yet to finish out of the top-ten in a race he has finished this year. Toronto represents an opportunity for Papis to get himself back into the points. In his three previous races at Toronto, Papis has improved from 15th in 1997 to 8th in 1998 to fifth in 1999. "I have always liked running on the streets of Toronto," said Papis. "The track is a tough demanding course that challenges you both mentally and physically. The thing that has always made this one of my favorite stops in the series is the enthusiastic fans and the atmosphere that surrounds the event."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Max Papis